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21/09/2021

Hurt from 2020 failure drove Kelly and Offaly on

"There is a great bond there at the moment, we know the direction we want to go and where we want to go"

Hurt from 2020 failure drove Kelly and Offaly on

Oisin Kelly bursting forward for Offaly against Derry

THE hurt from last year's Christy Ring Cup semi-final defeat by Down really drove on Offaly this year, according to star forward Oisin Kelly.

The Belmont man was in flying form as Derry were demolished in the Christy Ring Cup final on Sunday, firing over seven points from play.

He smiled afterwards:

“It was a solid enough performance. The scoreline didn't say it but Derry are a strong enough team and they really put it up to us. They are physical and have a lot of good hurlers. I am just delighted to get the job done.”

He was happy with their return of 41 points.

“I think we always struggle in scoring but our shot selection has got better and our retention rate inside is definitely better.”

Kelly is normally an ace goal scorer but resisted the temptation to really go for them today. He explained:

“I would have liked a goal but my marker stood off me a little bit. He was expecting me to take him on and I was happy enough to pop the ball over the bar when he was standing off me. We got the win, that was the main thing.”

He talked about the importance of getting back to the Joe McDonagh Cup.

“So important. If we didn't win today, that league campaign didn't mean anything to me and the lads were the same. Joe McDonagh is where we want to me, hurling teams at our level. Build from there and who knows what will happen in the next two or three years.”

What went wrong last year?

“I think maybe last year we were a little complacent. We were very hurt in Newry last year when we lost to Down. We bottled that up all year and really came together as a team, came together like no year ever before. There is a great bond there at the moment, we know the direction we want to go and where we want to go.”

He was askd about the individual improvements Offaly players made this year.

“I think Michael is very fair. We played lots of challenge games and training games and if you are playing well, he will pick you. It doesn't matter who you are, if you are playing well he will pick you.”

Is promotion to the Liam McCarthy Cup achievable next year.

“100%, I think so. That is not being cocky or arrogant, that is being confident in our ability. We have a young team and a great attitude. It is definitely achievable.

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